Why Does My Rabbit Shake When I Hold Him?

Why Does My Rabbit Shake When I Hold Him?

Raising a pet is not much different than raising a child. You have to know the nature of your pet, the behavior it has and the unnatural behavior it exhibits.

When it comes to rabbits, every rabbit has a unique nature and probably a unique way of showing its emotions and behavior.

As a pet owner, you must have the skill to understand what your bunny wants to tell you before it’s too late.

Rabbits do not meow like a cat or bark like a dog. Their actions will tell you if there is a problem. These actions might include shaking, pooping in an irregular pattern, or even digging.

We received a comment some days ago.

The comment was:

My little bun is always so playful and funny. She keeps running all over the house playing with her little Mrs. Piggy. But sometimes when she goes out she comes running back to me and her body shakes badly. She then hides in a box. Why is she doing this? How can I know what’s bothering her?

Shaking of rabbits can be due to many reasons. It can be due to their cowardly nature. They might be having some anxiety about predators or because of heat. Some bunnies don’t like changes, so they shake when being held.

Why Does My Rabbit Shake When I Hold Him?

In this article, our editors have explained all the causes and methods to treat a shaking rabbit.

Rabbits are wonderful pets. They amaze you every time with their little tricks and baby nature. Every animal can have stress just like us.

It is on us that how we make them recover from their shaking and fears. Just let them have confidence in you. Do not ever abandon them.

First of all, let us discuss:

Heat Stroke

Rabbits are full of fur. Rabbits are basically made for relatively cooler areas. They can withstand a good amount of cold.

But when it comes to heat, rabbits cannot handle it very well. Rabbits can do well with temperatures below 25 Celsius but after 25 degrees their condition gets worse.

When rabbits get a heat stroke, they start to shake a lot. It is quite the opposite of us humans as we shake during extreme cold.

The reason this happens is that they widen up their blood vessels to normalize temperature. This swelling takes place near the ears.

When a rabbit encounters a heat stroke, it shakes its head and ears. It can even show a headshake.  You may also see the rabbit’s tongue out and it struggling to breathe.

Adding to the symptoms, you find your rabbit a bit tired and dizzy. You may also see it running abruptly to cool down. It’s a sign that you have to act swiftly before things get worse.

You can easily prevent this situation at home.

Well, first of all, make sure that your room temperature must be cool. Turn on the Air conditioner at once. Do not let the rabbit go out again.

Take a sheet of cloth, soak it into the water and cover your rabbit with that sheet. This may help him relax a bit. Do not bathe them with ice-cold water as it can be fatal too.

Find the coolest floor of your room and put your rabbit on that spot.

If your rabbit still shakes his head then don’t wait and rush to your nearest vet before it’s too late. Overheating can kill rabbits.


Stress and anxiety can also be the reason why your bunny is shaking. It is common in mature rabbits.

Study shows that wild rabbits are more stressful than pet ones.

For today’s question, Why Does My Rabbit Shake When I Hold Him? This is a must-read.

Stress sometimes can increase when a male rabbit exerts its dominance over other rabbits. This may even include humping over the opposite or even the same sex.

Adding to this, your lack of caring or going out for longer times can be the reason for your rabbit’s increased stress.

Another major reason is loud music. If you have a habit of listening to your rock songs in higher volumes, it might increase the anxiety levels of your bunny and lead to its body shaking.

Stress and anxiety can always be prevented with love and care.

Do not abandon your rabbit alone for a long time. Provide him with some toys to reduce their stress. Let it play near you.

Do not play louder music or even shout in front of your rabbit. Your louder tone can make the poor bunny shake out of fear and anxiety.

It is best to neuter your rabbit so that it does not exhibit dominance over other rabbits. Neutered and spayed rabbits are less stressful and more playful.


Rabbits are prey animals. Feeling frightened is in their gut. They fear so much that they start to badly shake and hide.

Fear mainly causes when rabbits feel that there are predators nearby. The rabbit due to its natural instinct can feel the presence of them long before us.

They will try to shake badly or hide in our hands. You can even feel its nose buzzing and vibrating. Sometimes it happens when you trim their nails. It scares them.

Another major cause can be the transition of one home to another. It can cause to rabbits that had a family before and later given to another family.

You will see that it will hide and try not to come in front of you in this case. It’s important to let the bunny near you or fear might kill him.

You need to figure out why your rabbit is afraid. It could be a nearby pet that is lurking on your rabbit. It may be a stray animal outside the house.

Try to go after your pet. Let it rest on your lap and gently brush your hair against its forehead and fur.

If it’s hiding better lay or sit on the floor and wait for it to come outside. Rabbits are friendlier to a human who is on the ground.

Provide him with lots of good toys that will not make him feel alone. Ask your neighbors to relocate their pets to a distant place from the house.

If your rabbit still gets scare a lot, try consulting a good vet for better treatment.

Some Tips to Prevent Shaking in Rabbits

Shaking is a sign of danger. There are many simpler things you can do to avoid this type of shaking in the future.

First of all, if you do not want to reproduce any more rabbit babies, it is best if you neuter or spay the bunnies.

Neutered rabbits are friendlier and less stressful. Plus they will not pee on every corner of the room to assert their dominance.

If you want your rabbit to not get a heat stroke then do not take it out on hot summer days to play outside. Take them in the evening or morning time.

You may also maintain a low temperature in your house for the bunnies. They should not have access to such a place that is poorly ventilated and hot.

Take good care of your rabbit’s diet and health. Always provide it with fresh hay and water so that they keep themselves fresh.

Treat them with fruit, vegetable, and leafy greens. It will give their metabolism a great boost and make them strong enough so that they won’t shake.

If there are pets nearby that are causing your rabbit fear and anxiety, it is best if you track those animals and ask the owners to take care of them.

Sometimes it’s your own pets that rabbits can be scare of. In this case, you might have to give up on a pet or not let them see each other.

You would also make sure that the area they play in, the hutch they live in and their toys everything is clean and tidy. Messy things cause stress to bunnies.

Do not invade their personal space. Rabbits love to have their own time and indulgence in it might cause a great shake for them.

Let them come to you when they need to. Do not think of it as a toy. It is best to ask a vet in case you don’t understand anything.

So we hope that it’s been cleared to you why rabbits shake and what they actually want to say and how to make it stop. They need your love. They will be all right. Good day!

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